No. 20 Iowa limited Northwestern to 202 yards of offense and became bowl-eligible with a 20-0 win in Big Ten action Saturday at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
The Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) didn’t let the Wildcats (1-6, 0-5) penetrate farther than the Iowa 28. It was the second shutout of the year for the Hawkeyes, who have permitted only 81 points in eight games.
Iowa’s offense wasn’t great but didn’t need to be, sealing the verdict with two lengthy second-half scoring drives.
Mekhi Sargent’s 1-yard run with 5:23 left in the third quarter made it 17-0, polishing off a 13-play, 59-yard drive. Keith Duncan completed the scoring with a 28-yard field goal at the 9:58 mark of the fourth quarter, capping a nine-play, 61-yard possession.
Hawkeyes quarterback Nate Stanley completed just 12 of 26 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown, playing most of the game with an ankle injury sustained after a first quarter sack.
Northwestern’s Aidan Smith hit 18 of 32 passes, but for just 138 yards. Smith was intercepted once and sacked five times.
On a classic Big Ten game day — cloudy, chilly and occasional showers — the two teams conducted a defensive slugfest during the first half. The difference was that Iowa was able to use a big play and a long drive to carve out a 10-0 halftime lead.
The big play came with 8:38 left in the first quarter when Stanley connected with Tyrone Tracy on a short pass over the middle. Tracy did the rest, stepping out of a couple of weak tackle attempts and turning it into a 50-yard touchdown.
Duncan connected on a 40-yard field goal on the Hawkeyes’ next drive with 12:25 left in the half. It capped a 15-play, 57-yard march that lasted 6:27 and was kept alive when Northwestern committed a pass interference penalty on a third-and-3.
—Field Level Media